APC Presidential Primaries: Buhari, Atiku in Tight Race
Former Head of State Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar are said to be running a tight race in the build up to the All Progressive Congress presidential primaries holding in Lagos tomorrow.
Credible sources within the party said that it is now clear that the two are the front runners, but added however that the three other contestants cannot be dismissed with the wave of the hand.
Other aspirants are the Governor of Kano State Rabiu Kwakwanso; the Publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Sam Nda-Isaiah and Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha.
A source said the northern support seems to tilt strongly towards Buhari. Borno, Katsina, Nasarawa, Kwara, Zamfara, Jigawa and Kaduna are said to be well in his kitty.
Atiku is said to have majority of support in Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Yobe and his native Adamawa state, even though the aspirant he backed had failed to win in the governorship primaries.
Kwankwaso’s base in his state, Kano is solid, one source said, adding that Kogi state is his because he is backed by former governor Abubakar Audu.
Sam Nda-Isaiah is strong is Niger state and that he is working hard to break grounds in other states, while Rochas Okocha is on home ground in Imo. However there is no clear direction in the South East.
In the South, Buhari is said to be in the lead in Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Rivers, and Bayelsa while Atiku is said be the front runner in Delta and Akwa Ibom states.
While each of the aspirants has shown strength of commitment to wrestle power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led central government, much attention is now being paid to party delegates as each candidate now employs different strategies to win their votes.
For instance, while Atiku Abubakar’s camp has booked 4,000 rooms for delegates across the 36 states of the federation, Mohammad Buhari’s group has locked down 3,500 rooms for delegates believed to be loyal to the former president.
Other candidates have also succeeded in securing accommodation for delegates mostly from their home states.
Checks by our correspondents revealed that the factors that will shape the APC presidential primaries is mainly the disposition of the National and State Executive Committees of the party to the aspirants. The party leaders will pitch their tent with any of the aspirants that have political and personal pedigrees, as well as acceptability to majority of Nigerians who are eager to see a change of party leading the country and re-awakening of the various sectors of the economy currently believed to be in comatose.
The national leaders of the party have been playing a key role in providing the beacon for delegates. These leaders are personified by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the strongman of the party.
From the onset, it is predictable that the delegates will likely vote for power shift to the North since four of the five aspirants are from the zone. The pre-convention activities indicated that Tinubu is playing a major role in ensuring that Buhari carries the day by relying on bloc votes from the South-West at the convention. The geopolitical zone has not hidden its preference for him. Therefore, the Lagos APC presidential primaries may end up in favour of Buhari.
However, there is another school of thought that believed that Atiku is actually the man to beat in the APC presidential primary. This is because of his political experience and business acumen.
It is still difficult to say conclusively, however, in whose favour between the duo the pendulum of victory will swing. The answer will be known in the next 48 hours.
When contacted on the chances of the former vice president’s chances of getting the party’s Presidential ticket, his spokesperson, Mallam Garba Shehu said yesterday that according to their projection the chances are bright and he has a 60 -70 percent chance.
However, the director of publicity of Buhari Support Group Centre, Dr.Chida Maduekwe informed our reporter by phone that according to their projections,the former Head of State will have a 70 to 80 percent chance of getting the ticket.
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